‘Prior beefs’ in focus at Johnson murder trial
Closing arguments see shifting of blame among co-accused
Did any of the four men charged with the first-degree murder of Tyler Johnson have a “prior beef ” with the McMaster University engineering student that could have played a role in his death?
The Crown and defence each pointed to a different alleged killer they say appeared to have had prior dealings with Johnson during closing arguments Tuesday.
Assistant Crown attorney Kathy Malkovich said Brandon Barreira had been involved in a Hess Village scuffle with 30-year-old Johnson two months prior to his killing outside a King Street West pita shop in the early hours of Nov. 30, 2013 after he had been out with friends for the night.
But Barreira’s defence counsel, Jordana Goldlist, told the sevenman and seven-woman jury that it was Chad Davidson who appeared to have some “prior beef” with Johnson based on testimony and surveillance video footage displaying their interaction that evening.
Brothers Brandon and Josh Barreira, Davidson, and Louis Rebelo all face first-degree murder charges in connection with Johnson’s death.
One thing Malkovich and Goldlist agree on is the alleged shooter.
Both maintain Davidson, who was 34 at the time of his arrest in February 2014, shot Johnson, based on surveillance video footage from the scene.
“But that shooter did not act alone,” Malkovich added.
She said court has heard police responded to a fight in Hess on Sept. 28 involving Johnson, Brandon Barreira and a couple of others.
“This prior altercation may establish a possible motive,” Malkovich said.
But she added: “At the end of the day, we may never truly know why the accused murdered Tyler Johnson.”
But the Crown alleges the accused knew what they were doing. “This was a planned and deliberate murder.”
Goldlist argued this is not the case for Brandon Barreira, who she says is innocent.
“It doesn’t make sense that you would wait to settle some long-standing revenge for two months.”
Goldlist alleged it was Davidson who had a “prior beef ” with Johnson based on what can be seen on video surveillance footage of scene outside the pita shop.
After exiting the restaurant, Johnson tried to punch Davidson before he pulled out the gun and shot him in the chest, she said.
“Why is Tyler swinging at Chad unless there was prior … beef between them?” Goldlist asked.
“There’s some prior beef that unfortunately none of us can point to.”
All four men took notes Tuesday during the Crown’s closing arguments.
The Barreira brothers sat together in the centre prisoners’ box, with Davidson and Rebelo in temporary prisoners’ boxes on either side of them.
Court resumes Wednesday, when defence counsel representing the other accused are expected to close their cases.
Tyler Johnson was shot in 2013